SANFORD, Mich. — The water in downtown Sanford is starting to subside, but the flood left behind a path of destruction on Wednesday.
Businesses were destroyed, dozens of cars totaled and streetlights were snapped like twigs on Saginaw Street in Sanford, after millions of gallons of water poured through Midland County from Wixom Lake, the spot where the Edenville Dam failed.
Wixom Lake normally has around 84 miles of shoreline and enough water to fill more than 32,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, but it’s now an almost barren pile of sand.
“It’s like flushing a toilet, I mean it was amazing. We watched it there was just a little bit of bare dirt then all the sudden it just started going and you could actually watch the water rush it away, it left so much faster than it came,” said Mark Musselman, a resident on the lake.
The Sanford Dam south of the lake was the second dam in Midland County to breach under the force of the water.
A grass berm was almost completely wiped out and officials are still closely monitoring the damage, which is a challenge because of the amount of debris crushed up against it.
“Could it get worse? Yes. If the entire structure were to go, and the water were to come in a very significant, serious, immediate impact, there would be a much higher surge that would come down the river and that would raise the level much more quickly than what we’re seeing right at the moment. So it is a danger, yes,” Midland City Manager Bradley Kaye said.
They’re holding out hope as water levels begin to subside in the area.
Meanwhile, places like Sanford have already felt the devastating force of the water, a downtown toppled and homes in shambles.
“I can’t put it into words, it’s just devastating. To see these people that their businesses are shattered their lives are shattered the tourism industry around here is shattered, I don’t know how this area will ever recover from this,” Midland County Resident Michael Correon said.